Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide Editor Emma Killick loves Dublin so much she wants to move there.

I’ve never met anyone who had a bad time in Dublin. Now I know why – it is a beautiful city, filled with Georgian housing, green squares, beautiful churches and great food. And it goes without saying that there are pubs. But what makes it special is the people.

Dublin, Ireland, One

The pubs are what pubs should be – they all have a great atmosphere with professional, friendly bartenders. You can spend a whole day in a Dublin pub, even if you are on your own.

After only one visit, they remember your name – and boy do they have the gift of the gab (I’m going to have to use the word “craic”, aren’t I?). The other customers are also a total gas, though. The Irish are just genuinely interested in other people. They ask questions, they listen, and before you know it you feel like you’ve known them all your life. It is a place where you never feel alone.

What To See

There are plenty of historic sites throughout Dublin, most within walking distance of each other. I love to combine a bit of history, a bit of food, followed by a bit more history, topped up with a bit of drink. Dublin is perfect for me.

I recommend the Hop On Hop Off bus tour, which you can find near the main tourist/information centre in Dublin (a short walk from the University) to get your bearings, find areas you like to revisit later, and for a lunch stop. Make sure you pick one with a guide for the banter; our guy came out with classic lines like “Lucky Bram Stoker wrote Dracula because the rest of his stuff was shite” and “Mrs. Guinness started out as a beautiful young lass, but after bearing 21 children and partaking of the product, she ended up looking like Jabba The Hut. Trinity College, on the bus route, was as beautiful as I anticipated and the Book of Kells was well worth waiting in line for.

The Guinness Tour is not just about the beer – it is interesting, well designed and the view from the bar at the top is really spectacular. Plus, by the time you get to the top, everyone is so in awe and happy (the free pint helps), that it really is worthwhile. I recommend taking the Hop On Hop Off tour to get there as it is one of the few places that would be a bit of a trek to reach by foot.

Dublin, Ireland, Two

Where to Drink

Ignore the infamous Temple Bar. Everyone says it isn’t the real Dublin, and they are right. Architecturally it is pretty and there are some nice pubs, but leave before the sun sets because by night icky piles of drunken Hens and Stags overrun the whole area. Pubs we loved were all in Dublin 2 and so all within a short stroll of each other: Doheny and Nesbitt’s (5 Baggot Street Lower), The Dawson Lounge (25 Dawson Street), O’Donoghues (15 Merrion Row), and Kehoe’s (Anne Street).

Dublin, Ireland, ThreeWhere to Stay

There are plenty of great hotels around the centre (Dublin 2), but for something different (and more authentic), stay in Merrion Mews, just off Baggot Street (63 Fitzwilliam Lane). It’s a faithfully restored Georgian stables (but with the added bonus of modern bathrooms). It is very handy and highly recommended if you are there for more than a few days or with a group of people. The Irish Landmark Trust have two properties in Dublin.


I did my bit to contribute to the flagging Irish economy by buying locally-made sweaters and hats on Nassau Street, next to Trinity College, and everything I could get my hands on in Avoca (13 Suffolk Street).


We found plenty of great restaurants to keep us happy. I loved Hugo’s (6 Merrion Row) which offers fresh, simple fare in a lovely little restaurant, with live music several times a week. Try Il Segreto (13 Merrion Row) for great Italian-inspired dishes, terrific service, and espresso martinis so perfect you’ll never want to leave (and be up all night). I liked Peploes too (16 St. Stephen’s Green) for the best steak I’ve eaten in about 20 years – and finally The Winding Stair (40 Lower Ormond Quay). Opposite the beautiful Ha’Penny Bridge, it serves generous-sized modern Irish, locally-sourced dishes in a bright, lively room with a view across the Liffey.

You can read more from Emma Killick in the Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide to London.

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